EGAA BELFAST ALDERGROVE ATS

Donald Grant, son of Tommy, has sent in two new photos

Aldergrove in snow

Don says he has just found this one, Billy Wright on the left and taken in the winter of 62/63 I suspect. Possibly taken by me judging by the angle and I remember a very exciting day watch snow ploughs! I hope someone recognises the man in the middle!

IMG-20200517-WA0008

Tommy again, maybe Graham Waterton on the right (?). We think this may be Martin Rooney with his back to the camera, anyone recognise the possible trainee?

Mystery (6)AA1

My thanks to the CAA retired staff branch in Northern Ireland who confirmed these are all Aldergrove. Some are in the tower extension, some in the tower approach room, some are believed to be in the terminal building.

RAF Aldergrove

AA1a Hawker Hunter FGA9 XJ694/Z and an anonymous Javelin. Maybe EGAA staff can gives us an occasion and date?

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (1)AA2

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (2)AA3

Thats a QDM board on the roof of the tower. Gutersloh was another airfield with one – Richard Elwell.

Indicated runway in use – atchistory

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (3)AA4

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (4) AA5

That looks a lot like Graham Waterton in the approach radar room – it was

“Well, that takes me back… Stirring in the deep sludge that is my memory these days (2015 so 47 years ago -atchistory) is a vague recollection of being asked to sit down once for some posed photographs. About 1968 or 69 I would guess. I loved that new AR1 set, and working on it. Straight primary radar – no secondary then.” – Graham Waterton

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (5) AA6

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (6)AA7

Met Observer office: comments below from Bob White

AA7 – Met Observers room on the first floor at the north-west corner of the control tower building. Terry Boden in residence. Switches for cloud searchlights on wall at far corner with their indicator lights just above Terry’s head this side of the Lamson tubes. HH+50, 2 copies of 2309A via these tubes to ATC upstairs; HH+20, in addition, a copy of the Regional QNHs for the following hour. This was a glorious place to spend a summers evening, the peace & quiet only disturbed by the endless droning & buzzing of the Cloudbase Recorder, the large box closest to the camera. On 2nd June 1976, I recorded a snow shower whilst on duty here!

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (7)AA8

Bob White tells us

“AA8 and also AA11 & AA12 below are of the main Met Forecast Office at Aldergrove. Normal daytime complement was one SSO Forecaster, one SO Forecaster, one SO Supervisor (a sort of senior observer) and two ASO observers, one of whom spent half the shift in the Observers room (AA7) & the other half at the position occupied by the gent furthest away in AA8. This is where charts were plotted with station data prior to being drawn up (with fronts, isobars etc.) by the senior forecaster opposite (the far gent in AA12).

In AA8, the closer gent is sat at the table in the centre of AA11″

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (8)AA9

AA9 – The source of all incoming & outgoing data. Charts arrived via squealing fax machines on the right, and data for plotting, as well as actuals & TAFs, via the teleprinters on the left. One of these was for outgoing data – a collective bulletin of observations garnered by phone from various observing stations throughout the province. Two actions would bring severe disapproval down on top of any assistant (i) to allow one of the machines to run out of paper, (ii) when telephoning the various observation stations for the 0300 collective, mostly Coastguard stations, dialling a wrong number!

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (9)AA10

AA10 – I’m wondering is the right hand chap with the beard a youthful Albert McNarry, who finished off as an ATSA, though can’t remember on which watch?

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (10)AA11

AA11 – The counter in the foreground of this shot is where aircrew came for a Met. briefing. Just out of shot to the left was a door to a glass corridor which allowed access to Teleprinters (photo AA10), Flight Briefing (AA14), the terminal building, and the apron.”

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (11)AA12

AA12 – The forecasters side of the bench, with senior forecaster Harry Westwood (‘Clint’ if he wasn’t listening) beyond aviation forecaster Alec Fraser. Beyond the the angled board in the right background was hidden a soft chair allowing the forecasters a few moments solace during quiet hours. In the far left background, a door leads to AA9.

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (12)AA13

AA13, AA16 – AA19 are in the Tels. equipment room on the ground floor of the control tower building. AA15 might also be – it isn’t any Sup’s desk I recognise from ATC.

Never thought I’d see any pictures of what was once such a big part of my life. I’ll shut up now – brilliant, brilliant pictures. Thank you for collecting and posting – Bob White.

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (13)AA14

The flight planning section with Arthur ?

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (14)AA15

Watch Supervisor’s desk

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (15)AA16

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (16)AA17

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (17)AA18

mystery tower TEE mintech photos (18)AA19

JML_EGAA_1972ish

AA20 somewhere I have a series of slides and prints taken in the tower between about 1972 and 1975. Ironically, as the site manager, I can only find one of them so far. Embarrassingly its of me doing aerodrome control in about 1972, when I still had some hair left, I think Dave Mirams may have taken it – John Levesley

Belfast City

AA21 and a much more modern view, hardly an analogue device left except the strips and the pen.

A well known picture of 120 Squadron Liberators at Aldergrove with Liberator “M” FK(?)228 in the foreground. More important for us is, top right, the ATC tower.

9 thoughts on “EGAA BELFAST ALDERGROVE ATS”

  1. Good to see John Levesley here! Other names I recall are Martin Rooney , John McKenna, Dennis Durkin, Barry Whitley and Bill Eames…lots more if I think about it. Great days and happy memories.

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    1. Hello Donald, great to hear from you. The Ulster Radar section has photos of Bill Eames and Bill MacNamara and John Whyte is in the background of a photo in the Preston section. Your dad and many others are in the Nutts Corner post.

      Cheers, John Levesley

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      1. John! Great to hear from you, hope all is well and you are enjoying a disgraceful retirement! I’m not far from that myself.

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  2. I remember this well, as a schoolboy I went to work there with my dad in the summer holidays. Thanks for producing this.

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  3. AA8, AA11 & AA12 are of the main Met Forecast Office at Aldergrove. Normal daytime complement was one SSO Forecaster, one SO Forecaster, one SO Supervisor (a sort of senior observer) and two ASO observers, one of whom spent half the shift in the Observers room (AA7) & the other half at the position occupied by the gent furthest away in AA8. This is where charts were plotted with station data prior to being drawn up (with fronts, isobars etc.) by the senior forecaster opposite (the far gent in AA12).

    In AA8, the closer gent is sat at the table in the centre of:-

    AA11 – The counter in the foreground of this shot is where aircrew came for a Met. briefing. Just out of shot to the left was a door to a glass corridor which allowed access to Teleprinters (photo AA10), Flight Briefing (AA14), the terminal building, and the apron.

    AA12 – The forecasters side of the bench, with senior forecaster Harry Westwood (‘Clint’ if he wasn’t listening) beyond aviation forecaster Alec Fraser. Beyond the the angled board in the right background was hidden a soft chair allowing the forecasters a few moments solace during quiet hours. In the far left background, a door leads to:-

    AA9 – The source of all incoming & outgoing data. Charts arrived via squealing fax machines on the right, and data for plotting, as well as actuals & TAFs, via the teleprinters on the left. One of these was for outgoing data – a collective bulletin of observations garnered by phone from various observing stations throughout the province. Two actions would bring severe disapproval down on top of any assistant (i) to allow one of the machines to run out of paper, (ii) when telephoning the various observation stations for the 0300 collective, mostly Coastguard stations, dialling a wrong number!

    AA10 – I’m wondering is the right hand chap with the beard a youthful Albert McNarry, who finished off as an ATSA, though can’t remember on which watch?

    AA13, AA16 – AA19 are in the Tels. equipment room on the ground floor of the control tower building. AA15 might also be – it isn’t any Sup’s desk I recognise from ATC.

    Never thought I’d see any pictures of what was once such a big part of my life. I’ll shut up now – brilliant, brilliant pictures. Thank you for collecting and posting.

    Like

    1. AA10…Albert McNarry ended up as an ATSA on B watch. I finished as Watch Manager on C watch. Al was famous for his wit and endless tales of his previous seafaring career.

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  4. AA7 – Met Observers room on the first floor at the north-west corner of the control tower building. Terry Boden in residence. Switches for cloud searchlights on wall at far corner with their indicator lights just above Terry’s head this side of the Lamson tubes. HH+50, 2 copies of 2309A via these tubes to ATC upstairs; HH+20, in addition, a copy of the Regional QNHs for the following hour. This was a glorious place to spend a summers evening, the peace & quiet only disturbed by the endless droning & buzzing of the Cloudbase Recorder, the large box closest to the camera. On 2nd June 1976, I recorded a snow shower whilst on duty here!

    Like

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